Lionel Messi 'WILL leave Barcelona if he doesn't take a pay cut'

Lionel Messi ‘WILL leave Barcelona if he doesn’t take a pay cut on his £500,000-per-week wages’ when contract talks finally start, claims Nou Camp presidential candidate Emili Rousaud as Manchester City prepare to pounce for the Argentine star

  • Lionel Messi must take a pay cut in order to stay at Barcelona, says Emili Rousaud
  • Rousaud is one of the candidates to replace Josep Bartomeu as president
  • Messi tried to leave in the summer but stayed put after a threat of legal action
  • His contract is up for renewal next summer and Manchester City are interested 

Lionel Messi must take a pay cut or he will have to leave Barcelona next summer, according to one of the presidential candidates in the club’s upcoming election.

Messi’s future has been the subject of heavy speculation ever since he handed in a formal transfer request last summer in the wake of Barcelona’s humiliating Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich.

Amid the threat of legal action from the club, Messi decided to stay put but his contract is up for renewal next summer and he will be able to talk to foreign clubs about a move from January.

Lionel Messi must take a pay cut if he is stay at Barcelona when his contract expires

Presidential candidate Emili Rousaud (back row, far left) admits Messi’s current contract is unsustainable for the club

Manchester City are believed to still be interested in re-uniting Messi with Pep Guardiola in England while Paris Saint-Germain would be keen on bringing him into a front three with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. 

There is also the possibility that he stays and finishes his career at the Nou Camp but any talks of a new deal are reportedly going to be put on hold until the presidential elections are held next month.

But candidate Emili Rousaud has claimed that Messi, who earns £500,000-per-week at the Nou Camp, would have to take a pay cut in order to stay at Barcelona when talks begin. 

‘We’ll have to sit down with Messi and ask him to make a salary cut,’ Rousaud told Catalan newspaper ARA.

‘Right now, with things as they are, it’s unsustainable.

‘We’ll ask him to make the sacrifice. If there’s no agreement, then Messi will leave. 

Messi will be able to negotiate with foreign clubs in January with his contract up next summer

‘Messi has written the most brilliant pages in the club’s history. We have to honour our legends, but the reality is what it is.

‘I believe that things have to be said as they are. We can’t fool our members. We’ll make every effort to ensure he stays, but always with the interests of the club first.’

Messi, who scored the winner in Sunday night’s victory over Levante, has struggled for form so far this season with Barcelona nine points behind LaLiga leaders Real Sociedad.

Ronald Koeman’s side bounced back from defeats by Juventus and Cadiz with victory at the Nou Camp and they take on Sociedad on Wednesday night in a pivotal encounter.

Barcelona’s presidential candidates all offer different viewpoints on Messi’s future with Victor Font, the front-runner, last week admitting he is ‘convinced’ he can keep him at the club. 

Manchester City are keen to sign the Argentine and re-unite him with Pep Guardiola in England

‘I’m convinced that with a competitive, exciting and, especially in Messi’s case, long-term project – one that could even go beyond the day that Messi retires – we will convince him to stay,’ Font told ESPN.

‘Messi is the best player in the history of the No. 1 sport in the world. Imagine what that means.

‘For that reason, the Messi-Barca association is a strategic one and we must do everything possible to guarantee the association lives on.

‘Keeping in mind he can speak with other clubs in January, phoning Messi must be one of the priorities.’  

Jordi Farre has also boasted he will have the Argentinian signed-up just one day after the elections if he is victorious. 

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